FilmCourage: Where did you grow up and what was life like in the Valle household?
I grew up in Northern New Jersey in a small suburb of New York City. It was a nice town, safe, with good schools and fine people. My parents, however, made it an amazing place to grow up. My Father introduced me to Star Trek at the tender age of one month old. My Mother dressed me in a Superman outfit and had me flying around the house. Although thinking back on it, the Superman costume may have been my Father’s idea. I’d certainly have to credit my Father’s interests and my Mother’s openness for my love of movies. My Dad was a Sci-Fi and comic’s guy. My Mother more Disney all the way; which is why I have to credit her openness because she watched everything with us. For example, the best birthday present I ever got was permission to watch James Cameron’s ‘Aliens’ for my twelfth birthday. It was awesome. And while I had a wide array of other interests including football, basketball, history, marine biology, etc., my passion was always movies and movie making. This of course culminated in many home videos, whose shot lists had to work in sequential order because being eight-years-old and recording straight video tape, made editing a little far fetched.
Getting back to my parents, however; I’d have to say that they have made everything in my life possible. Their support, love and advice got me through my childhood and still helps me out so, so very much to this day.
FilmCourage: Did you set out to go to film school and pursue acting in LA?
Yes and no. I actually ended up going to the University of South Carolina for Advertising. But near the end of junior term with graduation getting too close, I had a bit of a panic. You see, I was all set to go to law school when it dawned on me that I had no interest in law whatsoever. What I really wanted to do was act. So I enrolled into a graduate level acting for film class at USC and found out that not only was I not too bad, but I was good. So I talked with my parents and the next thing you know my father and I are checking into the Oakwood Apartments. From there I moved all around Los Angeles enrolling in a number of classes at The Groundlings, Ivanna Chubbuck’s and so on, really refining my acting. In tandem, I read a lot. I found every book I could on film making and read it. Then I bought a camera and started practicing. First it was just Reels for friends, then short scenes, and then ‘Mirage.’ But my next test will be a feature. I’m finishing the script now and we have pipe lines for financing in place so I’m hopeful we’ll get started with pre-production in early 2015. Very exciting stuff.
FilmCourage: What is Mirage about?
‘Mirage’ is a Sci-Fi action thriller; which follows a downed army captain through the desert as he desperately tries to get back to base while his comrades attempt a rescue mission. So that’s the story the set up and the fun of the film; especially the Humvee chase. But the bones or supports of the film are based in the linkages between common beliefs and conflicting ideology. And what I mean by that specifically is the way in which religion, war, the act of killing and death all play together. Each person has their own views on all of these and has probably at one point or another thought about how they interact. This will be different for many and the same for a few; but it’s an important conversation that we as a society don’t often have. ‘Mirage’ opens up this conversation.
FilmCourage: How many different roles did you play in the cast and crew? What was this like balance different roles?
I played Writer, Producer, Director, Lead Actor, Editor, Sound Engineer, Casting Director, Story Board Artist and general go-fer for myself. It was certainly a challenge balancing all of these things especially because ‘Mirage’ is my first complete project, and by that I mean something longer then a scene or a skit. But while it was a challenge, it was even more exciting and immensely beneficial in terms of skill building. However; the balancing act on set took on another level of difficulty during my scenes just because as a director you need to be at one of a few levels and as an actor you never know where you’re going to end up. Nevertheless I was able to take care of business. Truth be told, the only detail which paused production was when I suffered from heat stroke half way through the day of filming. Thanks to the quick actions of my associate producer and beautiful girlfriend, I was saved. But I truly believe that being able to manage a story from a number of different angles allows you to truly due it justice because while most films have three to four story tellers, writer, director, actor, editor; here there was chiefly one and I knew what I wanted when I started out and was able to manage it all the way through.
FilmCourage: Where did you look for your actors? How many did you audition? Where did you hold the audition?
I am currently enrolled at Ivanna Chubbuck’s Studio, so I was able to draw chiefly from a pool of actors I had been watching put up scenes for the past year. Essentially auditioning a hundred or so auditing classes, meeting members of the studio having them read etc. In the end, choosing three of the actors; four including myself from the studio. But I also advertised an open casting call and held it at rented office space at a building on the Avenue of the Stars in Century City. We had a decent turn-out and I found a great actor casting him as both the Reaper and the gunner.
FilmCourage: How did you choose your crew?
There are a few websites you can use to hire a freelance crew. We used Production Hub primarily. It was great. We were able to advertise jobs, read applicant’s and non-applicant’s reviews and resumes; which made it possible to piece together an amazingly talented group of people.
FilmCourage: Where was the shoot? How long was it?
We shot ‘Mirage’ in Santa Clarita, CA at Army Trucks, Inc. This being an extremely high-end facility, handling mainly studio features such as ‘Independence Day,’‘Scorpion King,’ and ‘Terminator 3’ and 4 just to name a few. We were only able to secure it for one day, so we had about 7 hours to shoot the entire film; this made it imperative that I organize the shoot down to the minute, building in time for snags. The crew was incredible and made a huge difference in us staying on schedule. Just like anything else in this world that involves team work; your only as good as your weakest link.
FilmCourage: Where did you get the props and wardrobe?
I was actually able to make a deal with Army Trucks, Inc. to provide us with props and wardrobe with the exception of a few badges, which I was able to pick up at an army surplus store.
FilmCourage: How much have you spent on production and post?
Our budget was set at $22,000 and we were able to come in closer to $20,000.
FilmCourage: How did you raise the money for your film?
I was able to raise all funds through one individual who believed that this was a worthwhile investment in me personally and believes it will pay off in the in the future for them. The way in which I secured this investor was by producing my own work and continuously proving myself over a period of one year. That being said, the most difficult part of this process for others will most likely be the actual introduction to an investor like this. But if you put yourself and your work out there, someone will eventually come across it. You just have to keep thinking outside the box in terms of getting your projects into the hands of people like this.
FilmCourage: What was the biggest money savers on set that you can pass along?
Finding a location that provides toilets, tents/housing, Humvees, cars, wardrobe and props was our biggest money saver. And while you do pay a premium for the space, you end up actually making money because the cost to transport and fully insure all of those things, plus the addition of trailer rentals can end up costing a lot more. Also, going through a place that has all of that available opens up negations; which is the best friend of the savvy film maker.
FilmCourage: What ate up the most money?
The same thing that saved us the most, the location. This is really because it was an all inclusive type of deal. But the cost that I didn’t expect which ate up a ton of money was our insurance and camera rental (RED Epic). And while I more expected the expense with the camera, the insurance of around about $2,000 for everything for one day of shooting shocked me.
FilmCourage: Your website says you’ve submitted to 20 festivals. How much have you spent in festival fees? Where have you been accepted?
A little under a $1,000; a majority of festivals cost around $50 per entry. So far we have been accepted in to both the California International Shorts Festival and Pasadena International Film Festival. And let me just say that I and the ‘Mirage’ team are so honored to be included in both of these festivals. It’s truly a great triumph. As far as the rest, we are still waiting on news. With the notification dates nearing, we are all getting very excited.
FilmCourage: How many other projects had you directed, produced or written before Mirage?
I’ve done a handful of Internet skits, but really this is really my first project.
FilmCourage: What advice can you give a fellow aspiring filmmaker on making a short film?
Say what you want to do out loud, make a list of what you need to do in order to make that happen; and finally execute. It won’t happen all at once. It takes time, focus and planning. Study, read, apply and always plan to allow for extra time. Whenever possible, build in financial overhead; when not, get creative.
FilmCourage: What’s the best piece of advice you were given on success and who told you this?
Do what you love and everyone will love what you do. It’s something my Dad shared with me a long time ago and it’s how I ended up here today.
FilmCourage: Where can we find you online?
Director, Writer, Producer, Editor & “Cain Stone” – Kyle Valle
24-year-old Kyle Valle grew up in Northern New Jersey and later attended the University of South Carolina. Feeling restricted in the limited scope of opportunity for inventiveness in the business and law world, Kyle chose to pursue his true calling, and decided to focus solely on what he always knew he was meant to do. Moving out to California two years ago, Kyle has been working on bolstering his body of work, the crowning achievement of which is now Mirage – allowing him to demonstrate a full range of his skill sets and the depth of his intellect. Constantly questioning and pushing the envelope for a better and more exciting product, Kyle is in artist in all sense of the word – writing, directing, acting and painting. Kyle’s talents and interests however extend well outside the realm of the arts and encompass seemingly everything; scuba diving, history, foreign cultures, string theory, astrophysics, marine biology (specifically Architeuthis and sharks), weight lifting, architecture and cooking to name a few.
A psychological thriller which follows a downed soldier, Captain Stone, through the blazing desert desperately attempting to make it back to base. Encountering his best friend, Stone is urged to push forward, running for his life from a mysterious figure. Torn between his world and that of his fellow soldiers who are amidst the attempt of a rescue mission we soon realize that this may be a battle for more then just the physical.
Top 4 Reasons I Bought A Blackmagic Production Camera For My Next Movie
by Kyle Valle